23 Research Things

Digital tools to support your research

23 Things for Digital Knowledge from Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh has launched its 23 Things for Digital Knowledge program, an online, self-directed course, that provides researchers with a way to improve digital knowledge and to experiment with a range of new tools. An introduction and a task is provided for each Thing along with suggested readings and resources. How much time and detail is set aside for each Thing is completely up to the participant. Although the program is aimed in the first instance at staff and students of the University of Edinburgh, it’s open-access and contains a range of useful and informative posts. It’s well worth exploring and can be found here: 23things.ed.ac.uk/


23 Research Things

23 Research Things is an online learning programme for university staff and graduate students, showcasing a range of digital tools that can support research activity. It originally ran from 24 March 2014 as a series of weekly blog posts but the site will remain active as a continuing resource and will be periodically updated. For ease of reference, here’s the full contents of the programme.


Thing 01: Organisational and productivity tools.

Thing 02: Collaboration tools.

Thing 03: File sharing.

Thing 04: Social media for researchers.

Thing 05: Blogging your research.

Thing 06: Managing your online research networks.

Thing 07: Researcher identifiers and your publication profile.

Thing 08: Mind-mapping and brainstorming tools.

Thing 09: Web-conferencing and communication tools.

Thing 10: Finding and using online photos and images.

Thing 11: Managing and manipulating digital images.

Thing 12: Tools for presenting your research.

Thing 13: Screen capture tools & making and sharing podcasts and videos.

Thing 14: Survey tools.

Thing 15: Tools for Social Media Curation and Content Aggregation.

Thing 16: Reference management tools.

Thing 17: Managing video and audio material.

Thing 18: Text mining tools.

Thing 19: Mapping tools.

Thing 20: Visualisation tools.

Thing 21: 3D Printing.

Thing 22: Managing research data: file management and version control.

Thing 23: The Library as a research tool & final thoughts.

23 Research Things is a way to discover and explore new digital tools that might be useful to you and also provide a framework for evaluation, reflection and for the wider integration of digital technologies within your research practice.

Whatever your current level of confidence, the programme aims to help you develop a strategic approach to integrating digital skills into your work as a researcher; you might be using some of the tools already, in which case the programme will encourage you to think more deeply about how and why they can benefit your professional practice, and how to get the most out of them.


Thing 23: The Library as a research tool & final thoughts

"Last Post" by User:EnEdC - http://wikisophia.org/wiki/Last_Post (with LilyPond source). Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Last_Post.png#mediaviewer/File:Last_Post.png
“Last Post” by User:EnEdC –
http://wikisophia.org/wiki/Last_Post (with LilyPond source).
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

Well, after twenty-three weeks we’re finally at the end of 23 Research Things. For our final post we thought we’d take a look at the University Library itself and the services it provides for researchers. Over the past few months we’ve presented a range of digital tools and, of course, different people will find some tools to be of greater importance to their research than others. The Library, on the other hand, is pretty central to academic research: yes, as library professionals we might be a tad biased in that assessment but almost all researchers will at some point make use of the Library’s services and tools. Whether you’re a first-year PhD student or a seasoned research specialist, the Library has a lot to offer. Thing 23 was written by Mark Shepheard (Library Research Support Officer, Graduate Research) in collaboration with Hero McDonald (Arts Librarian) and Andrea Hurt (Client Services & Liaison Librarian, Arts).

  Continue reading “Thing 23: The Library as a research tool & final thoughts”

Thing 21: 3D Printing

Photograph of varios 3D printing objects from University of Melbourne
A collection of 3D objects printed by UDC over the last year

This week, we look at 3D printing and how it is aiding not only research but everyday life. Thing 21 was written by Adrian Di Lorenzo (University Digitisation Centre) in collaboration with Bernard Meade (Information Technology Services) and with a special thank you to Silvia Paparozzi and Ben Kreunen (University Digitisation Centre). By the end of the post, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of 3D printing and how it could be incorporated into your work to enrich your research outcomes.

  Continue reading “Thing 21: 3D Printing”

Thing 20: Visualisation tools

U.S. Forest fire hotspots, 2002-12. Map by Ben Jones using Tableau Public
U.S. Forest Fire hotspots, 2002-12.
Data Map by Ben Jones using Tableau Public

Researchers produce data in a variety of forms and usually in large quantities. Visualisation tools can help you to synthesize this data and provide engaging ways for presenting it to a broader audience.  This week we take a look at a range of some popular visualisation tools that work for various different types of data. Thing 20 was written by Andy Tseng (Data Infrastructure Architect Research Services, ITS), Bernard Meade (Innovation and Outreach Research Services, ITS), Michael Jones (Senior Research Archivist, eScholarship Research Centre), Leo Konstantelos (Research Data Curator, Digital Scholarship), David Jones (Client Services & Liaison Librarian, Map Collection).

  Continue reading “Thing 20: Visualisation tools”

Thing 19: Mapping tools


Antonio Tempesta's Map of Rome, 1645
Antonio Tempesta, Map of the city of Rome (pub. 1645).
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

We’re down to the final five with Thing 19 of 23 Research Things and this week we look at a great range of different mapping tools that can be used to visualise your research data. Thing 19 was written by Andrea Hurt (Client Services & Liaison Librarian, Arts), Ben Kreunen (University Digitisation Centre), Jane Beattie (University of Melbourne Archives) and Steve Bennett (Information Technology Services).


Getting started

Mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) provide a way to visualise and contextualise complex data. There is a wide range of software available that researchers can use to display and share their research data via blogs, Google Earth & Maps and social media. Whether you’re uploading information from spreadsheets to show geographical distribution or overlaying historical photos on streetview maps, visualising information can help make complex data more easily understood. Many of the sites we’ll discuss here are also useful as research tools themselves, and some enable you to contribute information yourself and add to an ever-expanding knowledge-base.

  Continue reading “Thing 19: Mapping tools”

Thing 18: Text mining tools

Cirrus word-cloud of this post using Voyant Tools
Cirrus word-cloud of this post using Voyant Tools

This week, we look at text mining and three great tools to get you started. Thing 18 was written by Andy Tseng (Data Infrastructure Architect Research Services).


Getting started

Text Mining, also often referred to as Text Data Mining or Text Analytics, is a process of filtering out specific or high-quality information from (usually) a large collection of texts via the use of various statistical and/or machine-learning algorithms.

Text mining tools enable us to extract core facts and trends from a large body of data and process those facts to derive patterns and structures that will help us make inferences and predictions about the output.

This is a big topic and there are a large number of tools available, but to get started with text mining we’ll look at some examples that are easy to learn and that should help you to get started with basic text analysis.

  Continue reading “Thing 18: Text mining tools”

Thing 17: Managing video and audio material

Photograph of camera crew filming a lion
Unknown photographer:
Filming MGM’s ‘Leo the Lion’, 1928.

A few weeks ago, we looked at tools for creating videos and podcasts. This week, we return to the subject but look not so much at tools but at some general guidelines and information that’s available if you’re producing audio and video material as part of your role as a researcher at the University of Melbourne. There are a lot of resources out there, and Ben Loveridge—Communications and Media Production Specialist with the university’s Learning Environments team—has put together this handy compilation of tips, links and advice.

  Continue reading “Thing 17: Managing video and audio material”

Thing 16: Reference management tools

Photograph of archival papers
Garzoni family archive (seventeenth-century),
Archivio di Stato, Lucca.
Photograph © Katrina Grant, 2007.

Building a reference list is not the cumbersome chore it once was. Reference management systems enable you to save, store and manage your bibliographies while you’re searching for information across databases and web based resources. A reference management tool can also insert in-text citations as you write up your research, thus automatically building your reference lists. Use these time saving tools as personal libraries and even as sites of collaboration with other researchers. In this week’s post we look at four particular tools:

EndNote, Zotero, RefWorks and Mendeley.

Continue reading “Thing 16: Reference management tools”

Number of posts found: 27


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